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Bruce, I Love and Respect Your Position

What Evangelicals Really Think About Atheists

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Bruce, I love and respect your position.

No, you don’t.

And you shouldn’t.

If you are a Christian, I mean a card-carrying member of the Jesus club, you should find my views abhorrent, loathsome, and damnable.

I know you say you are my friend.

I know you have become adept at separating the man from his message.

I appreciate the fact that you make an attempt to love me where I am and how I am.

But I wonder . . .

Do you really love me for being me, or is your love a means to an end?

Perhaps you operate under the delusion that if you just love me as you think Jesus loves me that I will return to the Christian faith and the universe, your universe, will be in balance once again.

You hold on, hoping that the hounds of heaven chase me down and drag me kicking and screaming back to the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes, I think you are like those people whose spouses have died. Night after night, they sit on the couch hoping that it is all a mistake and that their spouse is going to walk through the door.

I am not coming through the door.

It is time for you to embrace reality.

What Evangelicals Really Think About Atheists

I am an unbeliever, one with lots of knowledge about Christianity, but an unbeliever nonetheless.

I am an apostate.

I am a Christ-denier.

My life is a repudiation of all you believe is true.

I spit in the face of God and trample under the blood of the covenant.

Outside of these things I am still a pretty good guy.

You don’t really love and respect my position.

How can you?

I stand in opposition to virtually everything you believe.

Besides, I voted for Obama, and I plan to vote for Biden in November.

You believe the Bible is God’s truth.

I don’t.

You believe that human beings are vile, depraved sinners needing salvation.

I don’t.

You believe Jesus is the way, truth, and life.

I don’t.

You think attending church on Sunday is the most important thing a person can do.

I don’t.

What does the Bible say about someone like me?

Be honest.

I am a dog returned to his vomit (2 Peter 2:22).

I am a pig returned to the pig pen (2 Peter 2:22).

I have given heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1).

I am a scoffer walking in my own lusts (2 Peter 3:2-7).

I am willingly ignorant (2 Peter 3:2-7).

I am a false prophet, a false teacher out to deceive all who come in contact with me (Matthew 24:11-12).

Let me remind you of what the Bible says about someone like me:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Peter 2)

What Evangelicals Really Think About Atheists

The Bible is clear. God has spoken. It would have been better for me not to have ever known Jesus, never to have been saved.

I understand why some Evangelicals become so violent, so aggressive with me. I am a fly in their ointment, a stench that cannot be removed. Their answer is to declare that I never was a Christian, that I never was saved, that I never believed the truth, that I am a publican and a heathen (Matthew 18).

But YOU know better.

You know what I believed.

You know how I lived.

You know . . .

I don’t ask you to love and respect my position.

Stand for what you believe, what you think is the truth.

All I ask of you is that you truly have an answer for the hope that lies within you (1 Peter 3:15).

Don’t tell me what your denomination, pastor, or church believes.

Don’t tell me to read the latest, greatest book by a Christian apologist.

What do YOU really believe?

If you know what you believe, shout it out from the mountaintops.

But, if you are not so sure . . .

If you have questions . . .

If you have doubts . . .

Consider me an alternative viewpoint.

I am not a guru.

I am not a prophet.

I am just one man on a journey from eternity to here.

This blog is the written expression of my journey.

It is my “bible.”

I am nothing more than one man crying in the wilderness of his own life, seeking to know and understand not only his own life, but the lives of those he inhabits the earth with.

Most of all, I am here to help.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Matt Gunther

    Bruce,
    I have been reading your blog now for a couple of weeks, ever since my seminary professor gave out one of your articles for the class to read. I have commented a couple of times and interacted with a few of the members of this community. As a Christian reading, there are times when I am a little offended by some of the things you write but for the most part you have stimulated a lot of personal reflection. I ask myself; How am I perceived in my interactions with those who believe differently than me? How can I communicate what I believe is truth in a way that doesn’t drive others away? How can I influence others who hold my beliefs to act in a more sensitive way towards others who believe differently? Am I somehow betraying my faith if I don’t ‘share the gospel’ in every interaction? These are fairly big questions for me and I have invested quite a bit of time in thinking about them over the last few weeks.
    All this thinking and reading has brought about what I would call a repentance in my own mind in my attitude towards atheists and especially those who have left the church. Your blog has put a human face on this group of people.
    I realize that I may not persuade anyone (including you) to change what they believe about God, the Bible, etc. But I can try to represent Jesus in a way that I think reflects what the Bible teaches and in a way that is different than what many atheists seem to be experiencing in their interactions with Christians. Anyhow, this has gotten a little long, but I want to say that I appreciate the honesty with which you communicate and the welcome that I have received in commenting and interacting on this blog. It has challenged me in my life and while you may not appreciate it in the same way I do, it is strengthening me in my faith and in how I live out my faith. For what it’s worth. Thanks.
    Matt

    • Avatar
      Charles

      Matt. If you are being honest about what you just wrote above, you are welcome to visit my blog by clicking on the following safe link:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

      You do not indicate what your beliefs are or which seminary you attend. However, I assume that it is some sort of Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical seminary here in the United States. You say that you are concerned about how you are perceived when you interact with people who do not believe the same things you do. Just come over to my blog, read a lot, and you will find out very quickly why people do not like people like you—and it has nothing to do with rejecting Jesus. It has everything to do with how fundies, completely apart from Jesus, behave and the things they do.

      One of your biggest problems is that “you people” do not know how to focus down and listen carefully to what people are saying to you. Recent statistics indicate that 88 percent of the youth raised in your churches leave those churches behind at age 18 and never attend another church like them again for the rest of their lives. One reason for that is the fact—and it is a fact—that the pastors in these churches DO NOT LISTEN to the concerns of these youth and THEIR OWN STATED REASONS as to why they are leaving and never coming back. Over the past year, I have read articles written by fundie pastors who provide laundry list reasons why their youth are fleeing—and you know what—-those lists are all your own made up lists from your own heads. Other articles list the actual reasons the church youth say they are leaving. The two lists do not match. They wildly do not match. The reason for that is the fact that fundies pastors THINK THEY KNOW EVERYTHING, so there is no incentive to listen to how a kid feels and what he thinks—and God forbid that a female child might think something. When a child tells you the reasons they want out of their dungeon-like church, a wise pastor would listen to what they say, list their reasons down, and take them seriously. If you ever do that, I think you will find that every reason given boils down to a single common denominator: “I do not feel really loved in this church.”

    • Avatar
      missimontana

      Matt, until you and other church folk stop treating us like pathetic, broken sinners in need of your assistance, we will never like or trust you. I was sick, miserable, and suicidal as a Christian. The church made it worse. With therapy and the embrace of reason and science, I am much happier and healthier. I have absolutely no desire to go back to a belief system that made me believe I deserved to be punished for not loving god enough or worse, letting satan in my life.
      It doesn’t matter how nice you try to be. You are selling a product I don’t want to buy. Stop pushing your product and start listening to people. Maybe you’ll learn why so many people reject it.

  2. Avatar
    Charles

    Hi Bruce. I consider you to be my friend. My promise to never try to evangelize you still stands. I am not an evangelical Christian, and evangelizing people is not one of my gifts. If you and Polly are ever down in the East Tennessee area, call me up. We can go eat at Calhoun’s BBQ, drink a few cold ones, and shoot the breeze about anything but religion.

  3. Avatar
    Matilda

    Sorry, but as a x-tian for decades, now de-converted, I’m very cynical and wary of any religious person wanting to befriend me out of the blue. Why? because though I was rubbish at proselytising…I now realise the delusion ran through my veins, and through the veins of all the other x-tians I knew, that god most likely ordained our encounters for his glory. How proud he’d be of me if my new ‘friend’ converted. I supported missions for decades, knew hospitals, clean water projects, schools etc etc that did excellent work…but staffed by x-tians in those heathen places, please don’t tell me their main reason for being there, wasn’t just human compassion, it was to make converts. The last missionary I met assured me she was a veterinary lecturer pure and simple in the Ukraine, but a mission had sent her. I rather like the thought of her proselytising the many eastern orthodox x-tians there as she stuck her arm up the back end of a cow.
    I know nothing about you, so I apologise if you are not in this category…but, I suggest you’re in a small minority, most don’t even realise they’re doing it, offering fake friendships to strangers with an ulterior motive.

    • Avatar
      Karen the rock whisperer

      Matilda, I think you’ve touched on something important here. If a person truly believes that everyone must share their particular religious beliefs to avoid an eternity of torture, that’s got to be in the back of their minds, even if they don’t consciously acknowledge it. So, if a Fundagelical Christian likes me and we start a friendship over some other mutual interest, the time very well might come when this person, who really wants the best for me, will start to talk to me about Jesus–and no matter how nicely and gently I shut that down, they’ll be hurt when I do.

      Nobody wins at the game of Fundagelical Christians befriending ex-Christians. It just really doesn’t work well.

      • Avatar
        Matilda

        Agree. The mission Compassion was thrown out of India a few years ago by a hindu government – admittedly seeking to make India a hindu theocracy. They said that however much Compassion cloaked what it did in humanitarian projects, their real motive was x-tian proselytising…and they were right of course. If I ruled the world, Franklin Graham’s shoeboxes would be banned too. I organised the filling of hundreds over years. X-tian and non x-tian supporters alike, none of us realised it wasn’t a humanitarian project, tracts aimed at muslim children were added to our boxes. Just 2 examples of thousands similar ones probably.

  4. Avatar
    missimontana

    I don’t believe the bull of Christian love. One only has to look at the Religious Right to see what that love really means. I have had loving Christians say the most passive-aggressive hateful things to me, with a big smile and a “Bless your heart!” And, a promise to pray for me, because of course, I’m the problem in need of fixing.

  5. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    MISSMONTANA, exactly!
    Just as the parent who beats a child while crying out how much they love them and how this beating really hurts the beater more than the victim…. Evangelical Christianity!

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